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in a state of transition'; and, also, like the whole world around it, must be content to bear with the disputes and discomforts incident to such a state. The fountains have been broken the stirred and troubled waters have not had time to subside into a new condition of repose.
Our observations are not meant to toss the billows into a more tumultuous excitement. We have delayed them, by design, until they shall appear on the very day of the last meeting of the Society for the season; a period which is too late to augment the outbreak of angry and tumultuous feelings, and which just precedes the clear space of three months, which must intervene before any stormy proceedings can be by possibility renewed. We do trust that some opportunities will be seized in the interval by the managers of the Society, for taking a calm, deliberate, and comprehensive review of its whole position; and it is chiefly in that hope that we have ventured, firmly and frankly, but with sincere deference and respect, to submit the foregoing remarks to their attention. Professions are almost always idle: but they must here be
than idle, if the tenor of our strictures contradicts them. We leave our observations, therefore, to speak for themselves. Keen, however, will be our disappointment, unless they shall be considered as bearing evidence, that we have no disposition to annoy, no desire to embarrass, the present directors of the society; that we are not about to become either the organs or the instruments of a splenetic and factious opposition ; but that our wish has been rather to stand apart, that we might have the opportunity of surveying the general circumstances from a more favourable point of view, and pointing out, as spectators of the game, what the inore interested players may have been too busy to see. At the same time, the posture of affairs in the Church, even more than in the Society, is too critical for a timid silence, or a shrinking delicacy; and we should be utterly ashamed of disguising or concealing to what principles we are attached, and, if there should be a necessity for an actual struggle, what cause we shall espouse.
To those most excellent and estimable men, who have bound to them all the members of the Society by the ties of enduring gratitude; who long guided it and fostered it, although they are now rather on the side of opposition-it may be in us presumption to address ourselves. Yet we would assure them, that in the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, we are, like them, more anxious about the quality of that knowledge, than about its quantity; more anxious about the matter of the publications, than about the manner and the style. Let us, however, own, that,
while we are staunch “ Conservatives" in the former respects, we are disposed to be Liberals in the latter. And our hope is most earnest, that they will not withhold from the present managers of the Association the assistance of their virtues, and authority, and experience, along the more extended line of its operations. Under no circumstances, assuredly, will they dream of secession. Their secession might ruin the Society; or, at least, might throw its direction into the very hands from which they are the most desirous to preserve it. They must not secede. The Society cannot spare them. We should miss them always: and as was said of the great of old, we might “miss them most in the day of battle."
Some secession, perhaps, there will be. Some there would be, perhaps, whether the doctrines of the Society were stable; or whether they adopted the huckstering principle of " splitting the difference.” Some few may be driven away. This is an evil :for we would not willingly lose one zealous and conscientious Christian :--but it is an infinitely less evil than others easy to be conceived. And we may reasonably doubt, whether, in the long run, there will not be gained a larger number of subscribers from a firmer and more exclusive, than from a more lax and pliant policy. Be this, however, as it may, we would adjure the party, termed Evangelical, not to press the Society too hard; not to urge their peculiar distinctions with too fierce a pertinacity. The Committee is pledged against them. It cannot even be supposed, that it has a wish to retract its pledge. If it had the wish, it would still be fixed and nailed to its own declarations. They cannot, then, be gainers. If they persist, they may be discountenanced, and their friends may be excluded. The meetings of the Society will be fewer: and less discussion will be allowed. The discords and discrepancies of the Society must be brought to a termination: and if their “ agitation” is thought to be the root and origin of disturbance, the effect will be removed, by removing the cause.
A little forbearance may prevent great mischief. We have now finished the course of our remarks: and it is but too probable that we shall not have carried the entire approbation of any party along with us. The discussion may, however, have this use, that, if our sentiments cannot please others, they may at least afford them data for establishing their own, and materials for moulding them into a more specific shape. It may also do some service, in disposing all parties to think charitably and kindly, even if not gratefully, of the Managers of the Society; by showing that, “ high and palmy" as is its existing state, they who direct it have no easy or unencumbered task: but have been frequently placed in positions, where the most clear-sighted ability
might mistake its way, and the firmest integrity might pause in hesitation. Their fortune has been, not to let their bark drive before the favourable gale,
- On the smooth surface of a summer sea,"the skies all serene, and the waters all tranquil: but to steer a vessel, of which the timbers are not joined very safely and compactly together, in a perplexed and perilous navigation, amidst rocks on one side, and quicksands on the other, with a Scylla here, and a Charybdis there, and, too often, the clouds everywhere threatening, and the surges every where boiling madly round them. In the calmest times, it must be a matter of no light responsibility and no small embarrassment, to manage in a way which shall give general satisfaction, the interests of some sixteen thousand subscribers, and the expenditure of an annual revenue, amounting to some seventy or eighty thousand pounds: but the difficulty and delicacy of the undertaking must be increased tenfold, when every measure is watched with a jealous and suspicious scrutiny; when new parties are seeking to establish new dynasties; and when a polemical fermentation is at work in almost every breast.
We cannot bring this long article to a close, without again expressing a hope, that we may not have given offence, or inflicted pain, by the plainness of our speech, and the freedom with wbich we have ventured to offer advice to men
“ Older in practice, abler than ourselves
To make conditions." If the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge had been in a perfectly calm and comfortable state, we would not have written one syllable to disturb its tranquillity: but since it is too manifest that it has contained for months within itself the
perpetual disorder, if not of disorganization and dismemberment, silence would have been injustice, and the mere daubings of an indiscriminate praise would have been fulsome sycophancy; while we quite allow that the missiles of malignity, shot from behind the battlements of anonymous publication, would have been a darker, and dirtier, and more disgusting, baseness. Inveterate wounds have been festering within its bosom: and who could cure them without probing them?- who could heal them by treating and plastering them as skin-deep? Besides, as we began by saying, what is true of the Society, is true also, to a certain extent, of the Church in general. We consider the Directors, not merely as trustees of the funds, and repositories of the tenets, of the Association; but as stewards and guardians of the doctrines of the
Church of England. The maxims, which we have laboured to establish, have an application far wider than the bounds of the Society, magnificently extensive as they are: for they have the very widest application at a conjuncture, when matters of the most absorbing interest are at issue, and the dearest and holiest principles are at stake:-when true moderation is urgently required, and yet when the real nature of moderation is frequently and signally mistaken ;-when, in some places, the violence of party-spirit makes men blind as with a wilful or judicial blindness, and deaf as the deaf adder that stoppeth her ears;-when, in other places, men pursue the unhappy system of treating a formidable antagonist with more favour and distinction than the faithful, but candid, friend ;-the system, therefore, which, if it appeases one enemy, engenders and raises up fifty, since they are taught the advantage of opposition ;-the system resembling that fatal policy, which disgraced and destroyed the Roman empire in its last days of feeble cowardice, anxious to buy off foes with a part of the possessions, which an insolent iniquity had invaded; while the bribe itself, the token at once of wealth and weakness, was an invitation and a premium for the renewal of the attack with greater fierceness, and determination, and confidence. On the other hand, a temperate firmness, united with a wise expansion and comprehensiveness of views, if it cannot save the nation, may at least set every thing to rights in the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. That Society was never yet so flourishing in its resources; it never yet occupied so large a space in the eye of the country; it never yet had such ample means of good at its disposal. May it always be true to itself and its own purposes: may its harmony be strengthened and assured: and may it accomplish, more and more, over a wider sphere, and with a more penetrating efficacy, its glorious end of promoting
" Christian Knowledge"—that knowledge, which most improves man, and ennobles man, in the life present; while it alone can fit him for the happiness offered by redeeming mercy in the life to come. The blessing of Almighty God cannot but rest upon a cause so righteous—upon efforts so conformable to all that we can know either of His immutable essence, or of His revealed will.
The three months, which have passed since our last publication, have been crowded with events interesting to the Church. They all, however, seem to turn upon the point, whether the Establishment is to be preserved in its essential purity as an ecclesiastical institution, and its essential authority as a co-ordinate power connected with the State. In our present number, therefore, we have devoted a considerable space to the purpose of showing—first, that it is a matter of comparatively small importance, that the Church should be maintained in the integrity of its political influence, unless it be also maintained in the integrity of its doctrines; and, secondly, that doctrinal innovations would very soon involve its political downfall. These two remarks we would here repeat as the key to our observations in more articles than one.
Let us now take a rapid glance at our actual position.
There have been periods in this country, when the pressure of financial difficulties threatened almost universal bankruptcy. There have been periods, again, when foreign invasion menaced the destruction of individual freedom and national existence. Yet a conjuncture so pregnant as the present with almost hopeless embarrassments the oldest men ainong us could not recollect. Life and liberty are not in peril; and yet holier and more precious things may be in jeopardy than either liberty or life.
The war of principles seems hurrying to a decisive struggle. Neutrality there cannot be much longer. Every honest man must soon take his station among the belligerents. In the shock of the coming collision, the men, who would be on neither side, or on both sides,-the trimmers--the temporizers—the prevari
ators--will be the first to vanish. Either they will be crushed in the meeting of the hostile bodies, like a ship between two icebergs; or they will be swept away, as useless incumbrances, when the decks are cleared for action.
And then how will the opposite parties be arrayed? The composition of the antagonist forces is an astonishing and fearful spectacle. On the one side, we must rank the Monarch himself; on the other side, the confidential and responsible advisers of the Monarch. And the two branches of the Legislature are even more at variance than the King and his Ministers. We have a revolutionary House of Commons, and a conservative House of Lords. The one is urging the administration beyond the point where it would stop; the other would arrest and turn back its headlong course. And how are these knots to be untied ? is the sovereign to inundate the nobility with new Peers for the purposes of accomplishing measures contrary to his own opinions, his own feelings, his own conscience? Or, is the omnipotence of the House of Commons to be